I am that woman who, not too long ago, kept a detailed list of who I would and would not date.
On the Would-Date side of the page I listed all the good stuff: Tall, handsome, adventurous, kind, happy, environmentalist, self-aware, close to my age, financially stable, and an Independent or Democrat, of course.
On the Would-Not-Date side I listed what I was 100 percent resolute about: No Republicans, no Christians, no one who dislikes cats, no one angry, rude, no more narcissists—been there done that—and no one, absolutely no one self-righteous.
That last one came back to bite me, but in a good way.
One ordinary Tuesday, I went to my monthly environmentalist meeting, and there he was: Mr. Tall, Handsome-Environmentalist.
On our first date I learned that he was also a born-again Christian and a Republican.
“I knew he was too good to be true!”
I battled with myself and my list for a couple of weeks while deciding if I could go out with him again, considering he was, gasp, so flawed.
When I concluded that we were destined to be a one-date wonder, I decided I owed it to him to tell him why.
“I just can’t date a Christian or a Republican. That’s all.”
His immediate response changed me, and moved me forever into his orbit:
“Well, I think that’s kind of small of you, considering I am willing to date you when you’re a Democrat after all.”
He spoke those words to me with kindness and firmness, and I instantly got it. I was the self-righteous one I had referred to on my Would-Not-Date list. And I was schooled in the best of ways, by someone who didn’t know me, but still wanted to, even after my judgmental comment to him.
There is a saying about being careful not to be judgmental, while remaining discerning. It is discerning to not date someone who has addictions or is harmful, but to not date someone because of their religious or political beliefs is just plain judgment. No matter how I sliced it, I knew I had to come to terms with my own flaws.
Against the advice from my wonderful but not-yet-willing to date the other side of the political spectrum friends, I went out with him again. And again. And a year and half later, on the Spring Equinox, he proposed to me.
By no means am I suggesting that we are entirely free of disagreements. They do come up, especially with the recent election, but no more so than in my previous relationships. If anything, disagreements are rare because we don’t focus on our differences. We don’t try to change each other. We respect each other’s point of view.
He is the solid rock and I am the rolling stone. He encourages my creativity. I encourage him to spend time alone. We encourage each other to grow and be the best versions of ourselves.
Wayne Dyer says:
“Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing seems to me to be one of the most basic principles that you can adopt to contribute to individual and world peace.”
Although my Republican husband may never be into the cosmos or the healing properties of crystals, and I may never be into watching re-runs of ballgames from 1986 or listening to Christian radio, we find our way together, wholeheartedly giving peace a chance daily.
Author: Lori Stitt
Image: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr
Editor: Deb Jarrett